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On July 23, 1972, NASA launched Landsat-1, the first Earth-imaging satellite. The ongoing Landsat program offers “the longest continuous global record of the Earth’s surface.”
 
Landsat-1 was originally known as the Earth Resources Technology Satellite. It carried two imaging instruments. The most powerful instrument was the Multispectral Scanner (MSS). The MSS recorded data in four bands of the electromagnetic spectrum: green, red, and two bands of infrared radiation.
 
Today, Landsat-8, the project’s newest satellite, provides data used to record changes in such fields as land use, human population, and cloud cover.
cloud cover
Noun

amount of sky covered with clouds.

Noun

edge of land along the sea or other large body of water.

data
Plural Noun

(singular: datum) information collected during a scientific study.

electromagnetic spectrum
Noun

continous band of all kinds of radiation (heat and light).

forest
Noun

ecosystem filled with trees and underbrush.

Noun

mass of ice that moves slowly over land.

human population
Noun

distinct group of people who share a language, culture, economic status, or physical proximity.

infrared radiation
Noun

part of the electromagnetic spectrum with wavelengths longer than visible light but shorter than microwaves.

instrument
Noun

tool.

Noun

body of land surrounded by water.

land use
Noun

range of purposes people put to the earth.

NASA
Noun

(National Aeronautics and Space Administration) the U.S. space agency, whose mission statement is "To reach for new heights and reveal the unknown so that what we do and learn will benefit all humankind."

provide
Verb

to give or make available.

satellite
Noun

object that orbits around something else. Satellites can be natural, like moons, or made by people.

satellite imagery
Noun

photographs of a planet taken by or from a satellite.

Noun

an opening in the Earth's crust, through which lava, ash, and gases erupt, and also the cone built by eruptions.

weather pattern
Noun

repeating or predictable changes in the Earth's atmosphere, such as winds, precipitation, and temperatures.

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